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Search This Blog - Bad Laws or No Laws, The Real Issue

In the wake of school shootings there's been a rush for "new" laws with the unjustified optimism of those who have no recollection of the disruption, expense, hardship and seeming permanence of bad laws. And in this instance Obamacare stands out as a warning of the pitfalls of bad law.

Nope, it's not repealed. To this day the arguments put forth by people defending or attacking the law are often based on a mythological understanding of what was "meant" by the law or flawed statistics and flawed metrics used as "proof" based on questionable scientific authenticity rather than reality, and most significantly, the invention of goals contrary to the stated goals of the law designed to justify it rather than admit its failure.

One by one, let's just focus on the incontrovertible.

What did the law mean? The Affordable Care Act's lack of clarity is incontrovertibly reflected in two Supreme Court cases.

First, the Supreme Court Justices had to decide what was "meant" by the law concerning its original provisions withholding federal Medicaid money to states that chose NOT to adopt Medicaid expansion, as well as the legitimacy of the individual mandate, and the other where the Supreme Court had to decide what was "meant" by the language concerning the payment of federal subsidies to enrollees in states where there was NOT a state established exchange.

Whether we agree with the decisions or not, this is a sign of bad law, it was not clear and the Supreme Court had to decide. In the first instance, it was the Court that decided what was "meant," not the lawmakers.

Let's face it, the lawmakers just wanted an individual mandate, they had no intention of determining whether the individual mandate was a penalty or a tax. Yet, the individual mandate that imposed additional fees on citizens that chose not to purchase health insurance had to have the Supreme Court deem it a tax rather than a penalty to render it legitimate.

Similarly, lawmakers didn't worry about whether the threat to cut off federal funding for state Medicaid would punish states that chose not to expand Medicaid, instead, again, the Supreme Court had to decide what was really "meant" by the provision and decided it was punitive and violated states rights and therefore could not survive.

In the second case the Supreme Court determined that the federal government COULD pay enrollees subsidies in states without state established exchanges and in fact stretched what was "meant" by the law beyond the actual language of the law in order to reach its conclusion.

Flawed Statistics and Metrics: When it comes to the stats and metrics used in conjunction with Obamacare, it's hard to believe anybody would argue that the numbers show anything besides the manipulation of stats and facts to justify conclusions. Here's some of the twists and turns the government had to make to justify the "numbers."

Regarding the number of uninsured, well in 2015, we were treated to the confession by the Congressional Budget Office that that number was inflated: Congressional Budget Office disclosed “…slightly lower estimate of the number of people who will gain insurance coverage because of the ACA,” (CBO, Pub. 49973, page 19).

The number of individuals eligible for expanded Medicaid was also a double-dipping phenomenon with it turning out that millions of new enrollees in the "expanded" Medicaid were ALREADY eligible for Medicaid. Jonathan Gruber, one of the Obamacare architects whose public confession about stupid Americans and selling Obamacare to us made him a temporary persona non grata, also confessed that the number of Medicaid recipients dependent on expanded Medicaid under Obamacare was inflated: Millions of those who got Medicaid in the past two years WERE ALREADY ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICAID, in what Jonathan Gruber referred to as "coming out of the woodwork."

Then there was the government's GAO, Government Accountability Office 2014 finding that 11 out of 12 fake applicants got federal subsidized Obamacare coverage (

Then there's all the government "money-saving" assertions based on the cutting of money paid out by government on behalf of per capita insureds that conveniently OMITS all the new public employee expenses and government infrastructure expenses associated with Obamacare that again, the government simply decided not to count: “…estimates address only the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA and do not reflect all of the act’s budgetary effects…because the provisions of the ACA that do not relate directly to health insurance coverage generally modified existing federal programs (such as Medicare) or made various changes to the tax code, determining what would have happened since the enactment of the ACA had the law not been in effect is becoming increasingly difficult,” Congressional Budget Office’s January of 2015, “Updated Estimates of the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act."

Then the most egregious, redefining goals to accommodate the Act's failures rather than acknowledging the Act failed: In 2008, Obama said: "Now is the time to finally provide affordable, accessible health care for every single American - because you shouldn't have to worry about being one illness away from bankruptcy. If you like the health care you have, you'll see lower premiums under my plan. If you don't have health care, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves."

Even Obama fans couldn't lie enough to get the President out of these lies and Obama's words were deemed the LIE OF THE YEAR in 2013 by Politifact (Lie of the Year: 'If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.) Naturally, that was not the only lie, premiums soared, we cannot get the same kind of coverage members of Congress give themselves…and by the way that we pay for up to 72 percent. So instead, the Obama Administration focused on fudging enrollment numbers (which disappointed every year), fudged savings for government, and on and on.

And so, the Florida shooting. Hearts broken, lives cut short, anger, sympathy, how could you feel otherwise? But the opportunity for new gun control federal laws? I hope not. Should we indulge our instinct to do "something"? Of course, and the place to start is the school and its policies and failures that could be addressed. We must be more circumspect, more cautious before jumping on another "sweeping" reform bandwagon and ending up with more bad law.

Recall Obamacare, even with most Americans seeing the need for healthcare reform, the law that passed was NOT what we were promised or expected or were told it was. We cannot risk enacting gun legislation based on this recent history of sweeping law change.

Then there's the political climate that has lawmakers and media so hog-tied by their marriage to one party or another that their credibility is suspect whether it's reporting on the content of a law or the purpose of the law. Should we stand behind any of their "views" when their readiness to lie, omit, and ignore has been so readily demonstrated? For me, no.

Targeting the Vulnerable: Both sides show a willingness to come down on those with mental illness, with supports for deep background checks, and more nationalized reporting. It takes little genius to realize that this will not only further stigmatize those with mental illness but will discourage those who suffer from mental illness from seeking help, already a challenge. The popularity of this "common ground," is rooted in bullying, bullying another vulnerable population not numerous enough, not powerful enough and not rich enough to get its way in Congress.

Who had then President Obama's ear regarding the Affordable Care Act? We need look no further than the health insurance lobbyists' proposal in 2008, "Health Plans Propose Guaranteed Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions and Individual Coverage Mandate,” produced by AHIP.

Savaging those with mental illness with the threat of being "reported," with the consequence of losing rights, with the promise that doctor-patient confidentiality will disappear amidst federal reporting requirements is not a good proposal. For more, see my January 2016 article when then President Obama revealed that he was going after those with mental illness as a means of addressing gun violence, "Obama's Vile Plan for Mental Illness: Gun Control through Suicide Control."

So what "something" should we do? School security is a smaller issue than gun control in general, and perhaps that is the best place to start. A timeline of events of that day might be helpful to schools as presented by "TIME" on February 16, 2018, in a report by Lisa Marie Segarra, "Parkland, Florida Shooting: A Timeline From the Attack to the Arrest."

The timeline begins with Cruz arriving at the school and ENTERING the school at 2:21. Could that be an opportunity to have someone checking credentials or providing visitor passes? Then apparently Cruz took his AR-15 out of his case, according to the report. Could that be an opportunity for bags to be checked upon entering a school? Apparently he shot into three classrooms…Could panic buttons alerting teachers to lock doors be helpful?

Our job approval of our Congress people remains justifiably low, (19 percent in December 2017 according to Gallup). Do we really think that Congress is up to the job of creating gun control laws that will reflect our concerns in a way that doesn't trample on the rights of others and is independent of the political money and fan base that Congress people are beholden to? I am not confident.

Instead, I believe that school shootings provides us with a sufficiently narrow issue to address: Keep shooters from school grounds. In this instance, it seems likely that there were common sense security steps that could have been taken, checking who's coming in and coming out, checking visitor's bags, providing security with names of students who are not supposed to be on campus.

It's unclear whether other school policies in this case created the opportunity for the massacre, and hopefully that community will address those issues and rather than become political pawns in the "gun control" argument, can stand out as an example of how to keep students safe in schools for the future.

[Don't plagiarize, cite: conoutofconsumer: Health Insurance: Keep It Simple]
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